One hundred fifty years ago, on September 22, 1862, buoyed by the recent Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, President Abraham Lincoln announced his intention to issue an Emancipation Proclamation, which he did on New Year’s Day 1863.
The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the officially printed commemorative copies that Lincoln signed in full, along with Secretary of State William Seward andLincoln’s private secretary, John G. Nicolay. The President signed the original Emancipation Proclamation in private with only a few witnesses at his side – no “photo opportunity” as we like to say today.
It is fortunate that the commemorative printing was ordered, because Lincoln’s original manuscript was lost in the Chicago Fire of 1871.
Wishing to shake hands with anyone who approached, and at formal receptions they numbered in the thousands, Abraham Lincoln usually carried two pairs of kid-leather gloves in his coat pockets. This pair from his left pocket on the night he and Mary attended a play at Ford’s Theatre became stained with his blood after Booth’s bullet struck the left back of his skull. And Booth was not done: Mary’s silk handfan was then stained by the dagger-drawn blood of the friend who shared their box. So began Mary’s 17 years of widowhood, perhaps the most tragic public life in American history.
The hostility Abraham Lincoln faced from a majority of Americans in 1860 – he won only 39.6% of the vote that year, by far the smallest victor’s total in presidential history – took many forms. Reports of his effigy being burnt at anti-Lincoln rallies span the map from Georgia to Oregon. Here is a very rare survival from that period: an effigy doll ready for pricking or burning, with a black-cloth face under the paper Lincoln mask, to signal that he was a member of the so-called ‘black Republicans’ who wanted to free the slaves. The bearded mask indicates an 1864 re-run of the same hatreds of 1860, but by that point, his emancipationist policy had begun to move the hearts of enough Northerners that his victory was clear.
Boys In Blue: Col. Daniel Brown Bush, 2nd Illinois Cavalry Regiment
Before Colonel Daniel Brown Bush, Jr. enlisted in the Union Army, he was the owner and editor of the “Pike County Journal” in Pittsfield, IL and was one of the first newspaper editors to endorse Abraham Lincoln as a candidate for President. On February 9, 1860 Daniel Bush published an editorial written by John Nicolay, who would go on to become one of Abraham Lincoln’s private secretaries. A section of the editorial read:
Give us Lincoln as the candidate and we can promise the electoral vote of Illinois for the Republicans as a sure result…He maintains the faith of the Fathers of the Republic, he believes in the Declaration of Independence, he yields obedience to the Constitution and laws of his country. He has the radicalism of Jefferson and of Clay and the conservatism of Washington and Jackson. In his hands the Union would be safe.
Certainly Daniel Bush believed in the cause of the Union because a year and a half later he enlisted as a Major in the Second Illinois Cavalry Regiment, taking part in the battles at Forts Henry and Donelson as well as Shiloh. As a Lieutenant Colonel, Bush commanded the Second Illinois at the Battle of Vicksburg. He was discharged as Colonel of the Second Cavalry on July 24, 1865 and would eventually find his way to Portland, OR where we would live until his death in 1913. Upon his death, the “Sunday Oregonian” wrote in his obituary:
For the past three months he has been almost helpless and, like our old friend, Colonel Newcomb, he has been living over again the stirring scenes of his early manhood, frequently imagining himself at the head of his loved regiment, and when the time came for him to answer the last roll call he answered is as placidly as did our old English Colonel, and slipped away from the troublous things of this lower life. He had fought the good fight, like the brave true soldier he was, and could well afford to go where alarums are never heard and conflicts never come.
©2012 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
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Don’t you just hate when you go to a museum and you try to take mobile photos of the incredible architecture, or a beautiful new installation (without flash, of course), and you promptly get scolded by a volunteer or security? We do too, which is why we love that there are a few museums, like the
“Presidente Lincoln,” the only known contemporary artistic tribute to Abraham Lincoln made in Spain, will go on long-term display starting Tuesday, July 17 in the Lincoln Tomb Gallery at the Presidential Museum. Paid Museum admission is required to see the artifact. A number of other items that had not previously been exhibited in the Museum will also be on display with it.
The 1865 print from Barcelona used two engravings to tell its story - one based on an 1860 photo of a beardless Lincoln, the other on an 1865 scene of the 16th President’s funeral along Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. The printer was the distinguished old firm of Roca y Hermano, with its origins in the 17th century. The print was purchased by the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.
When Lincoln died, memorial prints were issued from England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Hungary. But as far as researchers at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum have been able to find, this is the only one from Spain, and it was never published in the United States. It was probably not created until at least May 1865 — the transatlantic cable was laid in 1866, greatly expediting all news — and its funeral scene in Washington, D.C. is similar to the first European engraving that appeared in the Illustrated London News of May 20, 1865. The portrait of a beardless Lincoln was based on the photograph by Mathew Brady in February 1860 that had long been turned into a variety of engraved prints, and was still used by some print sellers in 1865 and afterwards.
With this first Spanish Lincoln, the Presidential Library and Museum collection now includes original prints, silks, books, and other tributes from nine foreign nations at the time of his death. More recent imagery and books about Lincoln from every inhabited continent are still being acquired.
Those viewing “Presidente Lincoln” may want to venture to the nearby Treasures Gallery in the Museum, where an original manuscript of the Gettysburg Address in Lincoln’s own hand is on display through September 5.
Boys In Blue: Pvt. William Alphonso McLain
At the age of 15, William Alphonso McLain joined the Union Army for a one hundred day stint in the 9th Illinois Infantry. The age listed on his papers? Twenty-two. Three years later, William mustered into the Army for another one hundred day tour, this time with the 135th Illinois Infantry. The age listed on his papers? A more accurate eighteen.
©2012 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
From our Abraham Lincoln Collection: The Programme of Reception
Six days after his death, on April 21, 1865, Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train left Washington, D.C., to begin the more than 1,600 mile journey back to Springfield, Illinois where he was to be buried. Preparations had begun in Springfield for, the late President’s arrival, and the above Programme of Reception detailed the order in which dignitaries and other notable representatives were to receive the President’s train and transport his body to the State House. There are a few differences between what is printed in the Programme and the actual events of May 3 when Mr. Lincoln’s body arrived in Springfield.
The most notable difference is the train station that received Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train. The Programme lists the original arrival point as the Great Western Depot, the same Depot from which the President left Springfield in February 1861. Instead, the funeral train arrived at the Chicago and Alton Depot a few blocks away. All indications are that the reasons for the change were logistical. According to a 1941 article in Baltimore and Ohio Magazine which quotes James Wilkerson of Kansas City, Missouri, the funeral coach, “was constructed with four trucks instead of two, and this resulted in a great deal of difficulty during the trip to Springfield. Car ran awkwardly and great care had to exercised in passing over switch points.” This simple detail would have made it more difficult for the train to be switched over to the tracks that would have carried the funeral train to the Great Western Depot. In addition, the switchover to the Great Western Depot was south of Springfield, meaning that the train would have passed through the Chicago and Alton stop, and the masses of observers there, before coming back to the Great Western Depot. So, it appears the decision was made to simplify the process and have the funeral train come to rest at the Chicago and Alton Depot.
The other differences are relatively minor. Instead of 8 a.m., the train arrived an hour later at 9 a.m. William T. Coggeshall wrote in his 1865 book The Journeys of Abraham Lincoln: from Springfield to Washington, 1861 and from Washington to Springfield, 1865, “The Funeral Train was announced by the firing of cannon at nine o’clock. It passed into the depot through a dense crowd of expectant people, composed not only of the citizens of Sangamon County, but representing all the States touching Illinois.” The last difference is in the route of the procession. The May 4, 1865, edition of the Illinois State Journal tells us the route taken: east on Jefferson Street to Fifth Street; then south on Fifth Street to Monroe Street; east on Monroe to Sixth Street; and then north to the State House. There the procession entered through the east gate and into the Hall of Representatives via the North entrance.
Boys In Blue: 1st Lt. Michael F Swartzcope, 31st Illinois Infantry, Company A
Michael F. Swartzcope of Illinois stood six-foot-five and a half and at 41 years of age he mustered into the 31st Illinois Infantry as a Private. Census records tell us that Michael worked as both a cooper and a surveyor before the war began. Over six foot tall and a surveyor…sound familiar? By the end of the war, Michael was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and Quartermaster. Michael’s Lincolnesque life continued after the war; Lincoln was a lawyer, and Swartzcope followed a law career as well, serving as a judge in Jackson County, IL from 1865 to 1869. Judge Swartzcope passed away on March 22, 1901 at the age of 80 at the Home for Disabled Veterans in Danville, IL.
©2012 Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum